As they crossed the sea to Valinor the last of the elves left middle earth behind with heavy hearts. These were the last, from the Mirkwood Realm, to pass reluctantly out of the dominion of men to the undying lands. Although they would be welcomed by their kin, they would be looked upon as outsiders by many of those who crossed so long ago. Mistrust and wonder at their allegiance to their mortal friends. An allegiance that kept them from their true home, Valinor.
This love of mortal men, halflings and dwarves was not understood by many of the elves, likely because few ever endeavored to learn more of those with which they once shared middle earth.
As the shore of the grey haven faded in the mist behind them, Minuial removed the crown from her head given to her so long ago by her cousin and her husband who reigned over Gondor. She gazed into the glimmer of the cornflower blue jewel embedded in the center. It was a rare stone, known to the elves as “Gilliath ned i Gaeron” which means Stars of the Sea. The stone was a gift from Gimli, a dwarf lord, who said that when he looked upon it he thought of her beauty and knew the earth bore it for her. He entrusted it to the King and Queen of Gondor who gave it to the finest smiths of the land to create a crown of elegance and beauty befitting the jewel and its new keeper. The crown was a wedding gift from the King of men and his Elven queen. It was given to her as she herself began her reign beside her love, the new King in the land of Mirkwood. A tear of lament streamed down her porcelain cheek as she recalled the times she held so dear to her heart and longed to relive.
Minuial would not be taking this journey if the choice was hers. But the Valar called them home, and if they did not comply, the grace given to them would fade. If it were she alone, it would matter not, but she was not willing to give up her love for her lord. He often told her not to worry, that all would be well in the land across the sea and they would be well met. Although she knew her love was sincere in his words, her heart warned that this was not so.
She was not anxious to meet Thranduil again. He never approved of her or the union with his son and she feared the toll the reunion would take on her marriage. The former King of Mirkwood, now reining in the forests of Valinor would use all of his devices to drive a wedge between them. The blame for their long delayed crossing would be placed on her, for keeping her lord from his kin. To some extent this might have been true, but her husband was reluctant to leave for many of his own reasons. However, once her husband had made the decision to return, she reluctantly agreed to do so without contention. She vowed long ago that she would follow him to the ends of the earth, and now she was fulfilling that promise.
She could barely make out the silhouette of her beloved shores of middle earth anymore. The mist was thickening like a veil all around them. They were getting closer and as the sight of the Grey Havens diminished, her heart sank. She felt a hand upon her shoulder ” Do not despair my love, you will find happiness again in Valinor.” The softness of his voice fed her already surging emotions. He gently caressed her chin, turning her to face him. “I hear Lord Elrond has revived Imladris in the North. Perhaps we will find our new home there.” She smiled weakly. His sensitivity to her sadness was evident in his eyes. A mere gaze into his eyes mirrored the pain she was feeling. She was now holding back the urge to cry that was welling in her heart like a sickness.
She gathered her strength and swallowed hard. “Perhaps you are right my lord. You always seem to know best, please forgive my sorrow.” He put his arms around her shoulders in a loving embrace and drew her nearer to him. ” U-moe edaved veleth nin.”
“Renich i lu` i erui govannem?” her lover said softly. “How could I ever forget my love,” she replied breathlessly, ” it was the first I ever knew of happiness.” He placed a gentle kiss where a tear still remained on her cheek, “It was that very day that I bound my heart to yours and today, despite all the trials we have withstood, that bond is ever stronger.” He paused a moment and seemed to look through her eyes into her heart, ” I know you believe that my father would have us be parted, but that will never be. Ae u’-esteliach nad, estelio veleth nin.” He held her face in his hands and lovingly pressed his tender lips upon hers, kissing her gently, yet passionately. Her despair seemed to lift as his lips sought to heal her pain and draw away her sadness. He embraced her tightly as his loving and tender kisses renewed her strength and awoke a passionate fire in her that she had not felt burn since this journey began.
They held each other for a few moments more until he slowly leaned back and implored her eyes to meet his own. ” I will have you smile again, Minuial, and your happiness regained. You will see when you reach the sands of our new land, your fears will fade, and we will embark on this new journey together. Always together.” Her eyes glimmered with the warmth of her heart and he knew she was finding her way through the shadow that had been enveloping her hopes. He bent and whispered “U i vethed nai onnad” he smiled sweetly and held her lovingly in his gaze.
” We will be arriving at the outer banks soon my Lord” came a voice from the doorway of the galley. “Yes Talagon, I will be with you in just a moment.” the King replied. “Master Gimli is growing restless my Lord, he is……” Talagon uneasily tried to explain to his lord when a gruff growling voice broke through. “You pointy eared herald, I can speak for myself, I am not restless, I just want to put my feet on steady ground again. I am a Dwarf in case you haven’t noticed, not a mariner.” Gimli growled. He turned his attention to Minuial “Oh, my lady, I did not see your fair face there behind that tree of an Elf you married” he bellowed “Forgive my gruffness for I grow weary of the sea.” “Master Dwarf, you need not seek my forgiveness, I find your boldness refreshing, but I fear it is my lord that you have offended.” she teased. “Ah! If he would come down to the galley and share in the work that needs to be done and dirty his kingly hands, he would have no time to be offended.,” Gimli said with usual banter for his oldest friend, “However, now that I see he is here with you my lady so fair and sweet, I know now why it is he tarries. Your Grandmother held that same sway over me.” ” Yes Gimli, you are right as usual my old friend, I get lost in those eyes every time I gaze into them…… I will be along in just a moment master dwarf.” The King bowed his head to the dwarf sarcastically. Gimli grumbled and returned back to the darkness of the galley doorway.
” As you can see, I must take my leave for a short while to help the others prepare to dock the ship.” He squeezed her hand, wiped the last tear from her cheek and placed her crown back atop her golden tresses. “You are the queen of my heart, my love, and my heart will never waiver” with that he turned and went to tend to his duties.
She watched him stride away with his strong confident gait, the starlight dancing playfully in his long blond hair, until he descended below deck. She was overwhelmed by the love she felt for him as she took in a deep breath of the salty air. A peaceful sensation from somewhere deep within her being began to ease her soul. She sat down upon an elegantly carved bench at the rails of the ship and looked out upon the sea where it met the sky as the moon watched on.
She sighed to herself as she remembered the touch of his gentle kiss,” I hope with all of my heart that you are wiser than I in this matter and that the truth you see through your love veiled eyes, is the one that rises to carry us on. For I am not so certain that it is.”